Life is a journey


Last Thursday 22nd of January, the first TEDxBarcelona event dedicated to education took place in Torre Telefonica.

One full day of talks, performances and workshops advocating for a different approach of learning, a « sexy pedagogy » as Maria Acaso explains it in her rEDUvolution book.

Mindfulness and empathy as core values

The event already started differently with a meditation session led by Christian Tolra to ensure that everybody was present mentally as much as physically.

Many speakers then explained how the fact to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes was a game-changer inside classrooms.


Nicholas Carlisle @TEDxBarcelonaED

For example, Nicholas Carlisle invited us to « feed our wolf of kindness and compassion » in order to eradicate the bullying epidemic – affecting an average of 30% of the students – from schools. His project, started in the US, received such great feedback that he might soon implement it in Spain as well!

Montserrat del Pozo, recently elected Ashoka Fellow, told us about the model of her high school leveraging multiple intelligence and teaching a same topic through different angles and media.

Marta Arias, director of UNICEF Spain, challenged us to imagine a country without kids, given the limited investment Spain is currently dedicating to its young generation.


Anne-Marie Imafidon @ TEDxBarcelonaED

The power of technology

Technology allows projects to bridge gaps, scale up fast and reach remote areas.

That is what Elizabeth Wood demonstrated through the project Worldreader, elaborating reading content for simple phones to eradicate illiteracy in emerging countries.

Or Anne-Marie Imafidon who challenges the current gender ratio in the technological field through her Stemettes initiative, informing young girls about career perspectives in science field, launching an incubator for girl-led start-ups.



Alvaro Solache @ TEDxBarcelonaED

Disruptive performances

Miquel Duran, fellow TEDx organizer from the University of Girona, made us laugh and beautifully demonstrated how magic and science can be linked in everyday education.

Alvaro Solache owned the stage, with the beatbox artist Pulmon who did a improvised slam performance, before demonstrating on the spot how catalan human castles are a perfect metaphor of collaboration and team spirit.

Interactive workshops


Rainbow effect in the audience

Outside the auditorium, the participants were also invited to actively participate in different workshops, building human castles or learning about the power of humour in science, with the Big Van Theory of Helena Gonzalez, playing Lego or testing their theater skills.

They witnessed chairs sculptures or weird phrases written in the elevator, sound recordings as far as the bathroom itself !

They all wore a colour T-shirt with a printed letter, creating an harmonious rainbow in the auditorium or playing human scrabble to build words with strangers…

Barcelona has talent

For the first time, the TEDxYou afternoon session gathered 15 local speakers from the attendees to present their own view or project on education.

We learnt about epilepsy,  gamification or superheroes. We even learnt why we had a carrot in our gift bag…


Learning happens everywhere and at anytime

We do not only learn in classrooms. We do not only learn before the age of 25.


Ivo Degn @ TEDxBarcelonaED

All along our lifetime, life is teaching us lessons in its own way.

So, far from traditional curricula were also present the misfits, the ones who have never felt at ease with the traditional system and who wish to contribute with alternative solutions.

Ivo Degn explained in a very honest and touching way how he never found his place in the traditional education system until he found Knowmads school in Amsterdam, model which he wishes to implement now in Sevilla.

Martin Cadée told us about the importance of the rites of passage to adulthood and the need to support young people to go out there and explore before chosing their path in life

John Roberts invited the audience to start their own universities, curating the existing online content to create local community of learners.

Steve Munroe, post-cubicle survivor, advocated for a lifelong learning system in a world where we currently change career 15 to 20 times during a lifetime.


Kaisu Tuominiemi @ TEDxBarcelonaED

After a successful career working for the UN, he felt the need to put more life into his work and moved to Bali to start the first coworking space in Ubud for digital nomads.

His next venture Turnpoint offers immersive learning experiences for people at the turning point of their professional lives.

Kaisu Tuominiemi beautifully portrayed the power of team learning, as she implements now in the Mondragon Team Academy program in Barcelona.

A great media coverage

As the tickets were sold out for weeks in advance, the livestream option received a great success with more than 5.000 visits !

The live Tweet feed in the venue engaged attendees to be active in the social media sphere.

The event grew fast to second Trending Topic in Spain and trending topic in Barcelona for 8 consecutive hours.


Carlotta Cataldi

Carlotta Cataldi and Lucie Baudoin (from the A Factor) visually covered the event live through amazing drawings.

At media level, Nicholas Carlisle was featured in la contra de la Vanguardia, Anne Marie Imafidon in ARA, Elizabeth Wood in El Mundo and TV3 news dedicated a full session to the event.

More information in the full media clipping here.


TEDxBarcelonaEd’s volunteers

An amazing team

The extraordinary team of volunteers transmited its energy to the whole event.

Students and professionals who have dedicated free time for months to make this day a success.

Without them, the event would not have been feasible! So a huge thanks to all of you!!!

Check the event photos for more souvenirs! Videos coming soon!

Spark talks Beirut: Sparking new conversations in humanitarian action


Last Saturday 6th of December, in Beirut, after weeks of preparation, we hosted the first Spark Talks event on how to innovate in a humanitarian crisis context.

02_oneinfive syrianrefugeeLebanon is the home of a large number of local and international NGOs intervening in the Syrian context. 1 in 5 people in the country is actually a Syrian refugee (cf UNHCR infographic), with the weight this situation implies for local authorities and infrastructures.

The objective of the event was to challenge the traditional conference format with a series of short talks and personal stories from creative and innovative social activists, refugees and humanitarian workers, coming from different countries in Middle East. They shared with us their experience and the inner passion driving them to foster change in the region.

To that end, during months, we handpicked the most inspiring speakers of the region, those who are tackling the Syrian crisis through new tools and tactics, and we coached them to deliver a short 10 minutes insight on their approach:

–       James Sadri, from The Syria Campaign, leverages viral videos, social media and micro websites to raise awareness on the Syrian crisis within the European Union. He reminded us that the UK sent 500 people to fight for ISIS, but only accepted 50 Syrian refugees on its soil so far.

–       Jessica Anderson stressed the importance of media nowadays, and explained how Visualizing Impact infographics help counter the fact that most reports are never actually downloaded by anyone.

Etoile light–       James Cranwell, from UNICEF Innovation Unit, displayed the Raspberry Pi project, a small 100 USD tablet built in Lebanon to bring education to those who need it the most.

–       Edouard Elias testified on his experience as a war photographer in Syria, Central African Republic and Lebanon.

–       Kamal Mouzawak, from Souk el Tayeb, showed how war widows from both sides can get over their differences by cooking together, making “Food, not War”.

–       Doreen Toutikian, from MENA Design Research Center and Beirut Design Week, showed how design could be used to develop human-centered design projects, really answering the needs of the population.

–       Anthony Keedi, program manager at ABAAD, shared his vision on masculinity and how gender roles are deeply embedded in our socialization process from a very young age.

All speakers, through different angles, explained the danger of relying on a single story and the need to change the narrative on the existing conflict.


Monaj, on the danger of being an humanitarian worker in Syria

The most moving talk was from Mohammed Aboura, a PRS (Palestinian Syrian Refugee) who told us with acid humor about the absurdity of his current status, sometimes leading him to think he wished he were a dog to have more rights or freedom of movement…

The event was organized by PU-AMI, a French NGO working in Lebanon since 1996 and, after the previous storytelling workshop we ran with them, some of their staff decided to share their own story on stage:

–       Raquel had the courage to talk about the difficulty to be a gay humanitarian worker in complicated contexts, like in Ethiopia, Rwanda or even Lebanon.

–       Monaj, from Syria, explained the danger he faced as a volunteer humanitarian worker in Syria and the loneliness of now living in Lebanon, with a curfew after 7pm, being unable to travel anywhere else than in Lebanon, Turkey or Sudan with his current passport.

–       Maria Cristina, a Cuban freedom fighter who married a Palestinian refugee and joined him in a camp in Lebanon, taught us about resilience and acceptance throughout the ups and downs of life in the Middle East.

Mortada playing

Mortada playing

Some performances arouse emotion in the audience, such as spoken words of poetry from Majd Shidiac, the co-curator of the event, or music from Jawad and Mortada.

The catering was organized by Mommy Made, a local initiative working on women reinsertion.

In the audience, NGO or UN staff, students, journalists or entrepreneurs were inspired by the personal stories shared by the speakers.

Here is an article on the positive feedback received that day!

At The A Factor, we had a great experience running an event for the first time in the Middle East, getting to know more in depth the richness of Lebanese civil society and setting up the scene for a conversation only few had had before!

We also had a great time coaching the speakers and bridging the gap between their different topics, may it be technology, design, social entrepreneurship, activism, journalism or filmmaking.

Connecting changemakers as we love to.

We are now looking forward to new editions of Spark Talk events, would it be in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world, to give more visibility to those who bring solutions in the most challenging contexts!

Here are the photos of the innovation and storytelling workshops and the photos of the Spark talks event.

Videos coming soon!

Thanks everyone for that great event!

Thanks everyone for that great event!

Women’s Forum: Building the future with women’s vision


For its 10th edition, the Women’s Forum took over Deauville’s beaches again to inspire its participants to « lead for a more equitable world ».

Women's_Forum_Corporate_LogoSalma Hayek herself opened the event explaining her work with the Kering Foundation against domestic violence, and the platform Chime for Change she has set up with Beyoncé to accelerate women empowerment.

During two days, more than 1000 participants exchanged in a large variety of small simultaneous workshops, which allowed a wide diversity of conversations in an intimate set-up.We could see here the women’s touch…

I had the honor to be invited by Jennifer Milliken, the content curator, to host the roundtable on the innovators of the Mexican delegation.

Pilar Aguilar and

Pilar Aguilar and Tanya Moss

Pilar Aguilar, director of Endeavour Mexico, explained how only 1 % of their applicants are women when half of the entrepreneurs are actually female in their country.

So she invited the audience to refer more women entrepreneurs to her, and to apply to be a mentor or an investor to foster the scalability of their fellows.

One of them was present with us: Tanya Moss, who created her own jewelry brand 26 years ago. She told us about the resilience of Mexican entrepreneurs, as when she had to rebuild everything from scratch after her stores were destroyed by a hurricane.

Later on, I met another inspiring Latin lady: Johana Baramon, a famous Colombian actress, who set up Teatro interno to teach theater to women inmates in the prisons of Bogota. As she put it, after interpreting with them inside and outside jail « La casa de Bernarda Alba »: « Theater changes people ».

We met the nominees of the Cartier women’s initiative awards and of the Orange African competition. We learnt why Iceland is the champion of gender diversity.


Women’s forum – Christine Lagarde

But the strongest moment was the standing ovation given to Christine Lagarde, the French IMF director, by a very welcoming crowd of women impressed by her trajectory into a men’s world.

Mrs Lagarde joined the stage for a sincere interview, shared with us the words of Madeleine Albright: « There is a special place in hell for the women who do not help other women » and reminded us of the need to mentor and sponsor more women around us.

Her speech, on a variety of topics from Ebola to emerging powers, was sharp and yet very accessible. She explained how she pushed the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to unleash the women’s potential of his country as a key leverage for the future economic growth of the country in an aging and isolated society.

And apparently he did listen to her!

Last thing we heard, a woman stood up in the audience to ask her to run for President.

After this moving moment, it was time to dance with Rachida Justo, fellow Spaniard, teaching social entrepreneurship at IE Business School.

Next day, we discovered the Accelerate! Project from The European Union, dedicated to give more visibility to women in the media, as we advocated for in our last blogpost !

Women's forum - Françoise Laborde

Women’s forum – Françoise Laborde

Françoise Laborde from the CSA, the French Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, took a very strong stand talking about the still pervasive sexism existing on French radio and television.

On my way back from Deauville, I thought it was so refreshing and inspiring to see so many other men and women committed to change, and to hear elsewhere the same conversations that we are trying to spark through Shiftbalance. The world is moving and it gives hope… Back to Spain with many ideas of projects which could actually be really interesting to set up in the peninsula!

If you want to know more, check out the Women’s Forum Facebook page and our interview with Les Echos!

Mujeres al poder!

When Ted goes South! – Part II


During 4 consecutive days, more than 70 inspiring talks and performances challenged the participants. It is hard to tell you all about it but here are some of the highlights of the week:

Source TED Global

Source TED Global

  • As the curation was more focused on the south, many speakers were also social entrepreneurs as the Senior Ashoka Fellow Rodrigo Baggio, founder of CDI working on Brazil digital inclusion. The good news: we will welcome his new project Apps for good during our next TEDxBarcelonaED event !
  • As a strong supporter of women empowerment, I fell in love with Khalida Brohi who is working in Balochistan region with Sughar Empowerment Society to produce amazing embroidered clothes and fights against honour killings. Here is her interview in TED blog.


Source TED Global

Khalida Brohi – Source TED Global

Many speakers came from a grassroots social activist background:

  • Pia Mancini whose talk is already available online and who launched Democracy OS, an open source mobile platform to bring citizens inside the legislative process, and run candidates who will listen to what they say.
  • Alessandra Orofino from Meu Rio, talked about bottom-up local politics, as a catalyst for youth activism, identifying common issues and pooling for solutions, pressuring decision makers to listen to them.
  • Bruno Torturra from Media Ninjas talked about the use of experimental livestreaming networks in covering demonstrations in Brazil.

The use of the media in denouncing human rights abuse was key for many speakers, among them the inspiring Oren Yacobovich, a recent elected Ashoka Fellow from Israeli origin, who uses recording technology and hidden cameras to report and document daily realities of life in the West bank.

Or Jm Sokoloff who convinced some of the FARC members in Colombia to demobilize spreading Christmas trees among the jungle and proving the power of advertising as a tool for change.

Ethan Nadelmann struck me with his very articulate pro-drug legalization discourse and his powerful arguments.

Source TED Global

Oren Yacobovitch – Source TED Global

« The reason why a drug is legal or not has less to do with its actual danger for the body than with the type of people who consume it »

We also learnt about:

  • American lawyer Kimberley Motley, the only western litigator in Afghanistan courts
  • Michael Green who wrote the book Philantrocapitalism and explores the social progress index of different countries
  • Jorge Soto who is developing a simple, non-invasive test for early cancer detection
  • Navi Radjou who told us about frugal innovation and how to do more with less, learning from entrepreneurs from India or Africa about jugaad.

The nature was not left out of this edition with:

  • Mark Plotkin from Save our Amazon telling us about the great mysteries and knowledge from remote Amazonian tribes
  • Andres Ruzo performing before our eyes his quest on the mystery of a boiling river in the Peruvian Forest
  • And Robert Swan, whose expeditions to both poles to preserve Antarctica in face of climate change
    Taiye Selasi

    Taiye Selasi – Source TED Global

    before the end of the moratorium on mining and drilling in 2041 was very inspiring.

It was actually quite thrilling to go among the crowd during the breaks and to cross the famous French Buddhist Monk Mathieu Ricard who talked to us about the power of altruism or the Ghanaian writer Taiye Selasi who challenged our vision of origin and identity with her question: « Rather than where do you come from, where are you a local? »

But the strongest standing ovations were dedicated to unexpected subjects:

On the one hand, the apparently not very sexy topic of remittances:

In 2013, international migrants sent $413 billion home to families and friends — three times more than the total of global foreign aid (about $135 billion). This money, known as remittances, makes a significant difference in the lives of those receiving it and plays a major role in the economies of many countries. Economist Dilip Ratha describes the promise of these “dollars wrapped with love” and analyzes how they are stifled by practical and regulatory obstacles. Check his talk already online !

Source TED Global

Ricardo Semler – Source TED Global

And on the other hand, the Brazilian entrepreneur, writer and guru Ricardo Semler who told us very simply about his vision of corporate democracy and how he has been allowing employees to design their own job and salaries, setting up new schools and designing his own Tuesdays and Thursdays to live his bucket list for real.

As he says, « if you feel the need to give back, it means you took too much. »

An amazing moment that we will surely share in our next TEDx event!

The curation also included amazing artists and performances, which moved most of us to tears:

  • Like the Circle of sound mixing Western and Indian music

    Gustavo Ollitta – Source TED Global

  • Or Haas & Hahn who splash color onto urban walls in the Favelas of Santa Marta (some TEDx organizers even went there to give a hand on Saturday!)
  • The global wanderer Vincent Moon who has been filming traditional music and sacred traditions all around the world
  • Or the amazing emotional performance from Aakash Odedra with white leaves falling from the ceiling on his shaking body.
  • The young Gustavo Ollitta mastered juggling the buugeng with a magical, surreal, illusion of kaleodispic flow.
  • And the funk dance from Batalha do Passinho  straight down from the favelas funk nights.

 And there were very special moments like when Nana Vasconcelos, jazz icon, took his mythical instruments from the jungle and played the Berimbau for us.

Source TED Global

Ana Tijoux – Source TED Global

 Or when Chilean hip hop feminist singer Ana Tijoux started her song 1977 that has been displayed in Breaking Bad itself.

And for me, the most moving speaker of the whole week, has been Jimmy Nelson, who shared with us his work and hilarious struggles (where the XXX is the goat ???) photographying endangered tribes in Ethiopia or Siberia. His photos left us speechless. And to conclude his talk, he had us all stand up and pose with the same pride and defiance as the members of the Omo Valley. Priceless.

 So if you wish you had come, feel free to check online for more videos and photos of this amazing event! And stay tuned for more update!


Jimmy Nelson – Source Ted Global

When Ted goes South! – Part I


For the first time since its creation in 1984, TED left the Northern hemisphere to establish its famous conference in one of the most vibrant cities on earth: Rio de Janeiro!

Given our interest in social initiatives and innovation coming from the south, we couldn’t miss it!15426775042_615d47aa95_o

After our first storytelling workshop organized successfully in the southern hemisphere on 2nd and 3rd of October, I joined the crowd of the other 150 TEDx organizers from all over the world that were about to attend the conference.

The TEDx workshop, run by Jay Herratti and Salome Heusel, heads of TEDx in New York, was the occasion to learn from the new features prepared for the TEDx community.

After 5 years of existence and more than 10.000 events organized, it was time for some upgrade!

Good news: TEDx will soon provide to its local organizers a common event management tool including a registration page, TED attend and TED connect application to improve the experience of its attendees. And TEDx awards will soon celebrate the most innovative and best curated events!

June Cohen, the executive director of TED, then gave us a few tips to coach the speakers and explained why some videos did not make it to the TED website.

As she said, “a talk is not just a personal story, it is not only an issue which exposes a problem. It is an idea which proposes a solution, clearly articulated, focused and authentic.”

We then shared experiences with Andres, who will launch soon the TEDxHavana, the first one in Cuba and needed feedback on how to run a TEDx in complex political environments. Folks from TEDxShanghai, TEDxBlackrockcity (Burning Man) or TEDxMogadiscio offered him precious tips for his upcoming conference.

Source TED Global

Mohamed Dalwa – Source TED Global

The next day was dedicated to the TED Fellows talks. Young people from all over the globe with powerful
projects, Scientists, Filmmakers, Artists, crazy people like:

  • Mohamed Dalwa and his Open Medicine Project in South Africa who
    invented a new mobile application to improve the triage of the patients and save thousands of lives in emergency wards.
  • Joe Landolina who created the revolutionary Veti-gel, a plant polymer based gel that stops traumatic bleeding when applied to wounds…

    Mundano – Source TED Global

  • Or Bassam Tariq, who is both a filmmaker and… a butcher, with his movie These birds walk and his new halal meat chain in New York J

But that was only the first course… Since Chris Anderson and Bruno Giussani waited for Tuesday to pronounce the mythical words « It’s time for TED! »

At this moment, more than 1.000 people from 69 countries gathered in a huge tent, specially built for the event on the Copacabana beach itself, just in front of the famous Copacabana palace.

To make it accessible to Rio’s inhabitants, TED has been setting up for months the project TED para todos, where the livestream was freely available in different coworking spaces, libraries and public viewings.

Our friend Emmanuelle from TEDx Bordeaux shared with us her experience of this journey through Rio’s innovation centers. Check her post!


The life of a digital nomad


When was the last time you actually worked from an office? A real cubicle, with real colleagues around you, following a real schedule?

For my part, I can’t remember…  a56dd91e2cfe851317e4ad8ef5d4744b

During the last week only, I have been:

–       Catching up on my emails at Roissy airport lounge

–       Answering my calls in the train from Geneva to Lausanne

–       Updating my blog in a cafe in Madrid

–       Checking interesting videos on many friends’ couches all around the world…

Exciting! … And exhausting at the same time…

Because the only thing you need at the end of the day in this ever-connected world is your computer (aka. lifetime partner) and a good wifi connection. Which can be found in almost any place now around the world.

So why put up with the London traffic jams, the rainy Parisian weather or the noisy city centers if you can actually work from anywhere?

That’s based on that questioning that a international tribe of digital nomads emerged, a group of world citizens who do not wish to live by the rules or compromise on their quality of life.

And it’s not so much a question of money at the end of the day. While renting your flat on Airbnb, it actually costs less to work from Bali or Costa Rica than in a coworking hub in Barcelona.

Maslow 2.0

Maslow 2.0

Lately, many solopreneurs, free-lancers or even start-up founders have decided that they would rather code in Thailand than in freezing Copenhaguen.


That is the case of Michael Boedakaer, who left Denmark to set up Start up Getaway. This is the first exotic co-working space, offering entrepreneurs to wake up in a paradisiac AND productive environement, in Bali, Indonesia. As a matter of fact, the island has become THE place to be for digital nomads.

Steve Munroe, the founder of HUB Ubud, another inspiring coworking space overseeing rice paddies, explains how his international community was looking for a haven to escape from our overstressed world. Entrepreneurs, international crowd looking for great connectivity, intellectual stimulation and great quality of life with surfing and diving spots all around…

Now, various retreats like Work from Bali offer entrepreneurs to spend working time away from their traditional environment. Costa Rica is on the go too.


New places around the world will develop at a great rhythm, since you now benefit from a myriad of specific tools to structure your work while you are on the go:

fourhourhypnosis-534x218–       Online CRMs like BaseCRM, Nimble or Insightly help you follow your sales pipeline from anywhere.

–       Freelance assistants, found through people per hour or odesk, can manage your personal agenda or social media from anywhere on the planet, take care of your travel logistics or of the next massive commercial mailing.

–       You can gather the contacts you accumulated in different social media through Full contact or IFFT.

–       You can manage your TO DO list on To do ist or, share your new tasks with your team in Podio or Trello, write you last thought on Evernote and stock all your data in the cloud to share with your remote colleagues via Dropbox, Drive or Mega.

–       And, obviously, you can communicate for free via Skype, Viber, Whatsapp or Facetime.

So what else do you need?

Probably mental flexibility.

g2oxjjmatjbjernx7ft1As ideal as it seems, you need to be able to focused in cafes, trains or airport lounges. In hostels or on your friend’s sofa, next to the pool or in your country house.

Because, even if it seems perfect from the outside, it requires extreme adaptation skills to work at any time, from any place. A great sense of planning and anticipation.

And a great sense of discipline to know when to stop. When is it enough? And when do you have time to focus? To reflect, think back and get some perspective.

How do you put a limit? Set a boundary between your professional and your private life?

Is there even one? Or is everything blended now?

I haven’t felt being in holiday for a while. But I haven’t felt bored at work either.

Have we freed ourselves from the cubicle constraints to become slaves to ourselves?



Histoire de cadeau, first business born from our storytelling workshop!


This story starts with a storytelling workshop, one of these random and rare moments in life where all the pieces of the puzzle beautifully fall into place…

14359133132_c2ae86fbed_zA full day of passionate learning in Paris… Among the participants, there are Didem and Céline, each of them having their own consulting business, each of them curious to discover more in depth what storytelling really is about.

So the participants casually exchange during coffee breaks, lunch, work sessions, getting to know each other and decide to follow-up after the workshop.

On one side, we have Didem. After spending many years in IT organizations, she decided to take the leap and start her own business. She launched The Startup Atelier to help technological startups demystify customer development, to get clients and build a healthy business.

In parallel, she also had another project, for which she started the market research and early steps. But it remained mostly on the shelves, since days only consist of 24 hours.

She was looking for someone to start it with. In this project, she had put all the best of her worldwide travel experience, her curiosity, her love for finding niche and local products. She imagined bringing together her findings into an e-boutique where people could find original products to offer as gifts to their beloved ones, and through that rediscover the true value of gift giving.

On the other side, Céline spent several years working in purchasing management for Telecom operators before deciding also to take a leap and to start La Framboise Carrée, to help SMEs differentiate themselves from the competition and attract more clients.

In parallel, she pursued her passion and her curiosity for innovation and used the little amount of free time she had left to follow events, and to create a database about anything related to innovation, creativity and originality, whether it is an idea, a design or a product. She developed a wide knowledge in various areas where new things are happening or new products keep coming up.

didem profile circle90celine profile circle20

Connecting the dots

The pieces of the puzzle come together that day when Didem sees their common interest and motivation and how complementary their know-how is. After the workshop, the brainstorming goes on with long, lively, chitchat phone calls, coffees, and mail exchanges.

Didem asks Céline to consider becoming co-founder of her project.

To her big surprise, not only does Céline come back with a positive answer, but also with a long list of designers as part of her proposal.

What is there left to do? Implement the whole thing, and do it fast. Which brings us today, when the technical platform is very close to getting completed, legal details are almost sorted out, vigorous designer selection is on-going and marketing campaigns are ready to be launched!

Oh, by the way, not to forget: it is not a surprise that they chose the name « Histoire de Cadeau » (Gift Story) for their e-Boutique. Since it all started on a beautiful day in Paris, at a storytelling workshop.

La page Facebook d’Histoire de Cadeau


Let’s reshape the role of women in media!

Let’s reshape the role of women in media!


So far, media haven‘t been particularly favorable to women. And the worst of all is that we are not even aware of it anymore… 

The famous Geena Davis Institute, which analyses each year the status of women in movies, releases impressive figures:

–        MYTH: Boys and girls are equally represented in film and television.

FACT: Even among the top-grossing G-rated family films, girl characters are outnumbered by boys by 3 to 1. This ratio hasn’t changed since the end of World War II…

–        MYTH: Girls on screen are compared favorably to their male counterparts. 

FACT: From 2006 to 2009, in G-rated family films, not even one female character was depicted in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or in politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women constitute 50% of the workforce.

–        MYTH: Gender imbalance issues have gotten better over time.

FACT: Statistically, there has been little progress for girls in media within six decades. Only 10.7% of movies feature a balanced cast and a third of female speaking characters are shown in sexually revealing attired or partially naked.

–        MYTH: Things are looking great for females behind the camera.

FACT: Women represent only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers, which explains why it’s a struggle to champion female stories and voices.

In France, the little pamphlet “À la télé, les hommes parlent, les femmes écoutent” depicts a very similar situation:

–        Only 20% of interviewed experts are women.

–        Only 7% of all the sport seen on TV is feminine.

–        The speaking time of women on TV is stuck at 15%.

–        And yet, 60% of spectators think that current TV programs give the same position to men and women…

If you find yourself still doubting, I engage you, next time you watch a movie, to simply try the Bechdel Test. It’s very easy:

You need to hear 2 women characters, both with a name, talking about something else than a man, at least once throughout the film. As I said, simple.

Yet, 50% of last 2014 Oscar nominees didn’t pass that test…

As Geena Davis says: « The more a girl spends time watching TV, the less it feels like she has a choice in life. And the more a boy watches television, the more he tends to become sexist.”

Because media plays a critical role – perhaps the most critical role – in shaping perceptions and disseminating information, our children integrate very early, and unconsciously, that women do not actually occupy half of the world.

Phumzile Mlandbo-Ngcuka, the new director of UN Women, also advocates for media as a leverage for change, to make progress for women

The Giving Women Conference I attended in Geneva on September 30th gave visibility to different initiatives aiming at shifting this balance:

–        Amie Williams launched Global Girl Media, training young girls all over the world to become citizen journalists.


–        The internationally acclaimed filmmaker Deeyah shared with us her groundbreaking documentary Sanah, on the inside of an honor killing, which happened lately in the UK.

–        Valerie Tandeau woke our minds up regarding everyday sexism and engaged us to register in Voxfemina, the first French database of women experts willing to change the perception of women in the media.

–        And finally Monique Villa, founder of the renowned Thomson Reuters Foundation and Trust conference, which will take place in November in London, explained how media actually leads to action and concrete changes in laws of various countries.


Many other initiatives exist:

–        The program Name it Change it wishes to stop sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press in the US.

–        Still in the US, SheSource is an online brain trust of female experts on diverse topics designed to serve journalists, producers and bookers who need female guests and sources.


–        In the UK, Her SAY sources more authoritative female voices in our media.


Media shapes the way we see the world. And we need to change the current narrative!

With women representing over 50% of the population, and as media is moving more and more towards spreading polarizing, subjective, and extreme programming, cloaked as “news”, the need to increase the presence of women’s voices and change the conversation becomes even clearer.

So BE AWARE of it! Check what programs you show to your children! Choose different movies! Apply to be a woman expert!

Here are additional links for you if you wish to pursue your research on that subject:

–                GMMP: Global Media Monitoring Project

–                European institute for Gender equity

–                Center for the study of women in Television and Film

–                Womens Media Center


Why is mindfulness becoming so hype among entrepreneurs?

Why is mindfulness becoming so hype among entrepreneurs?


With our ever-growing connectivity and the constant solicitations of our multiplicity of devices and social networks is also growing a visceral need for peace and quietness, even in the business world.

Once upon a time, meditation techniques were restricted to Buddhist monks and esoteric retreats in the Tibetan mountains. Now, though, mindfulness is becoming mainstream. How did this happen?

The mindfulness is actually the energy of being aware, awake to what is happening inside andaround us in the present moment. 

Being compassionate to yourself and to others instead of constantly judging.

Which sounds very simple but which is not so common when we are constantly ruminating past mistakes or break-ups or “preoccupying” ourselves with potential future threats or worries.



How can we learn to actually enjoy the sun on our skin while we walk, the smell of our shampoo during our shower or the taste of a juicy peach at lunch? Or even to have sex differently

Progressively, this new trend has left the personal development area with the impact of the neurosciences and different psychiatrists like Jon Kabat-Zinn who have given a new meaning to years of yoga practice.

Research by the medical and scientific communities has provided evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and in increasing emotional resilience, happiness, positive social behavior, and cognitive skills.”

In the international 8 weeks MBSR training program, it is said that 20 minutes of daily meditation actually allows you to progressively rewire your brain.

While you stop and breathe, you calm the agitation inside you to see clearer and to cultivate the quality of your attention, directing it where you want when you want.

You can better choose between the urgent and the truly important, fight the automatic impulse to keep on doing, and prevent being slaved to external solicitations.


That is why this trend has become such a hype among the ever-connected entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley.

Every year in San Francisco, the Wisdom 2.0 summit gathers leaders and companies from around the world to address the challenge of our time:

“to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.”

Google actually even hired a head of mindfulness training who has enrolled 2,000 employees so far in its Search Inside Yourself mindfulness course.

As Chade-Meng Tan says himself:

“Meditation is going to be seen as fitness for the mind. And goodness is good for business. If people like you, they want to help you succeed.”

Companies are now looking for the advice of international zen masters as Thich Nhat Hanh or Matthieu Ricard to enlighten their management.

And each summer, many entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley flock into the Burning Man Festival to experience the mind-altering vibe of the playa of the Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, even is some fear the loss of the original spirit of the pop-up desert city.


Further away, in Bali, the deceler8 program is also another illustration of these digital detox retreats for fast-paced entrepreneurs who are looking for opportunities to refocus their energy.

As Andy Puddicombe says, all it takes is 10 mindful minutes.

So, to make your life easy, new applications as Buddhify, Headspace or Mindfulness even help you meditate in customizable sessions directly on your Iphone…

While working, you can now listen to Focus at Will, which is actually delivering various “attention amplifying music channels that soothes the easily distracted fight or flight mechanism increasing attention span and general focus.”

And the kids are the new target. In order to reduce bullying and behavioral issues in the playground, schools are progressively implementing mindfulness in their programs to develop empathy among students, like the Wake up schools for example or the .b program in schools in the UK.

Without being the miracle medicine, it still seems that the impact of mindfulness in our everyday lives is yet to be explored and discovered so if you wish to know more, here are a few books for you:


How can tech and new media make our world a better place?

How can tech and new media make our world a better place?


For the past decade, two trends have emerged side by side: the influx of investment in social good issues and the technology revolution.

social good summit 2014

Yet better synergies still remain to be found between these two collectives that most of the time ignore each other. How can we bridge the gap between the tech addicts and those who want to make the world a better place?

+Social Good was born out of this need. Its objective is to spark conversations and to catalyze projects leveraging new media and technology to accelerate change. With a worldwide mobile penetration of 93%, it is time to imagine how technology can contribute to solve major issues as access to healthcare, education or gender inequality.

Eleven global partners, from which UN Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Mashable or 92Y, ranging from business, tech, philantropy and media worlds, make the community as diverse and strong as possible.

Ongoing conversations from local to global, with an anual Summit in New York, independent local events and a strong digital presence through the platform are the keys of the success of the brand.

Plus social good

As part of the first worldwide cohort of +Social Good connectors, I had the pleasure to join the rest of them in Washington late June and to meet this diverse crowd of “ecosystem builders” who all leverage media to create impact in their communities. Among them, you could meet:


We were all interacting during two days to imagine how we could effectively collaborate between each other and actívate the conversation in our own local communities.

+SocialGood recently released its new platform allowing deeper engagement from worldwide members. Check it out!

Next Social Good Summit will take place on September 20th in New York.

So, if you are interested in technology and social entrepreneurship, stay tuned for the coming +Social Good event in Barcelona!